Chance to Compare

So after a week with both, how does the startup with a new PC to a new Mac compare?

In actual fact it’s a slightly unfair comparison, as I’m effectively starting from scratch with the PC, as I’ve chosen to install XP 64 onto it, rather than the XP Home setup that it was delivered with. This brings with it a whole load of added complications as many manufacturers are operating a wait and see tactic with 64 bit, and effectively won’t properly support 64-bit processors until Windows Vista is finally realeased. Having said that, I have only come across one bit of hardware that I totally couldn’t get to install, and that was the serial to USB cable I use to hook up the GPS. Officially, the graphics card doesn’t work, however I found a technique online that allows you to load a more suitable driver, as ATi do support 64 bit, just not the mobility versions just yet. (Curiously, they do have mobility drivers for the new Windows Vista beta…)

Anyway, the most annoying problem at the moment with the new PC is nothing to do with the software at all, it seems there may be a loose connection somewhere. Last night I could consistently get the screen to blank out by lifting the front of the machine. This developed into there being no screen backlight at all. At this point I got the screwdrivers out ready to open the bottom of the machine, however the screws being rather tight I couldn’t shift them, put the battery back in and flipped it back over, booted up, and no more problem – very strange.

As to the new Mac, that was up and running within hours, and is absolutely fine. To some extent it shows you what an advantage Apple have by controlling their hardware, out of the box you’re getting a machine that takes advantage of it’s 64-bit processor, and no problems with any applications. Compare this with the XP-64 experience where you’re struggling to find drivers and software that works.

A friend at work half-jokingly said when I got the PC “so I see you’re getting a proper computer now”. If getting a proper computer means endless fiddling with drivers, maybe I have. However for a reliable day-to-day machine the Mac is definitely out in front. Microsoft are miles behind in terms of operating system. When Vista finally appears it is only going to be matching Tiger for features, and by that time Tiger’s successor will be out, and on Intel as well.

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